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Cheetahs v Sharks - Super Rugby match preview
Johan Goosen will return to the action for the Cheetahs when he starts in their Super Rugby opener against the Sharks in Bloemfontein on Saturday.
The South Africa fly-half was sidelined for nearly four months last season after sustaining a knee injury, but has recovered in time for the new campaign and will partner scrum-half Piet van Zyl.
Coach Naka Drotske has also confirmed prop Coenie Oosthuizen will get some game time on Saturday having fully recovered from a neck injury sustained on international duty last year.
Despite losing stalwarts Andries Strauss and Sias Ebersohn to the Southern Kings and Western Force respectively, Drotske will include full back Willie le Roux and exciting winger Raymond Rhule as the Cheetahs look to make the best possible start to their new campaign.
Frans Steyn will captain the Sharks from inside centre as coach John Plumtree names an experienced side ahead of their first game of the new season.
Plumtree will look to the older heads for the clash with a dangerous Cheetahs backline, starting with Ryan Kankowski - back from a six month stint in Japan - starting at No 8 alongside Jacques Botes and Marcell Coetzee.
Cobus Reinach starts at scrum-half while there are no real surprises in the backline with Pat Lambie at fly-half, Steyn partners Paul Jordaan in the midfield and Springboks JP Pietersen and Lwazi starting out wide.
South African Louis Ludik completes the line-up at full-back.
Cheetahs: 15 Hennie Daniller, 14 Willie le Roux, 13 Johann Sadie, 12 Robert Ebersohn, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Johan Goosen, 9 Piet van Zyl, 8 Philip van der Walt, 7 Lappies Labuschagne, 6 Frans Viljoen, 5 Francois Uys, 4 Lood de Jager, 3 Lourens Adriaanse, 2 Adriaan Strauss (captain), 1 Trevor Nyakane.
Replacements: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Coenie Oosthuizen, 18 Waltie Vermeulen, 19 Boom Prinsloo, 20 Sarel Pretorius, 21 Elgar Watts, 22 Ryno Benjamin.
Sharks: 15 Louis Ludik, 14 JP Pietersen, 13 Paul Jordaan, 12 Francois Steyn (capt), 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Patrick Lambie, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Franco van der Merwe, 4 Anton Bresler, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Kyle Cooper, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 19 Jean Deysel, 20 Charl McLeod, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Odwa Ndungane.
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